Woodland gossip : being a free and easy translation from the German


Material Information

Woodland gossip : being a free and easy translation from the German
Series Title:
Woodland gossip : being a free and easy translation from the German
Physical Description:
Boyle, Mary Louisa
Leighton, Frederick ( Illustrator )
Alford, Marion
Boyle, E. V.
Cautley, Spencer
Thomas McLean
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
ltqf - AAA4703
ltuf - ALJ0525
oclc - 07964847
alephbibnum - 002239987
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Full Text

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Frederick Leighton, A.R.A.

E. V. Boyle.

Lady Marian Alford.

E. V. Boyle.

Spencer Cautley.

E. V. Boyle.








. 16




' ) .




Gossipings we've had together,
(Oh let many be in store!)
Gossipings in chequered weather,
Gossipings on sea and shore,
While the storm was raging wildly,
When the moon rose calm and bright..
O'er the Atlantic floating mildly..
Stilly watches of the night.
Merry masquings, sad misgivings,
Radiant halls, and darkened room,
Trouble, pleasure, partings, livings,
Art and nature, light and gloom.
Gossipings we've had together,
Fondly in my memory rise,
Friend in every change of weather,
Steadfast, tender, true and wise !

CamUw us, 1864.




WE are quite mistaken if we think that flowers .cn
do nothing but bud, and blossom, and smell sweet,
and wither, for this opinion, however far it may
have spread, has been forced upon us by our own
egotism, which would gladly persuade us that every*
thing in nature is destined exclusively for us, and
as we are only conscious of the external life of
flowers oh, then of course it follows they
possess no inner life I As we said before, thi is
an error, for not only has each flower: its own
individual character-one modest, another proud and


vain;-this bright and gladsome, that dull and
homely, expressing itself, so to speak, by hues and
habits; but each flower has its own desires and
aspirations, its own joys, sorrows, and loves. More-
over, they have all an invincible patriotism, that is
to say an attachment, not only to the land, but
even to the spot whence they sprang; a sentiment
which is not often to be found in men now-a-days.
They also possess an organ of communication, as any
mortal who listened long and eagerly enough might
discover, provided he kept watch in some flowery
meadow of a night, for night, as we shall soon see,
is the chosen time for their conversations.
The narrator of the following story lay one sweet
moonlight night on the dappled carpet of the wood,
and listened, or dreamed as many would more pro-
bably imagine; when suddenly he heard a thousand
mall voices rise out of the flowers. Apparently
smae friendly little elf, to whom he had unwittingly
nadered a service, lent him his power of hearing
tbe that eight. The Reed whispered a long lyrical


poem, in the ear of a neighbour, and the neighbour
listened attentively, while at intervals might be heard
the chattering of the Corn Rose,* who is the scandal-
monger among flowers, and represents the tittle-tatle
branch of literature. Not far off, the red blossoms of
the Moss were tittering together over something, doabt-
lees very humorous, that had passed between themselves.
The Campanula was silent, but she appeared to acqui-
esce in the discourse of a neighbour, by constantly
bowing her head, from right to left. Very different
was the case of the Quaver Gras, who on the contrary
perpetually shook his head, and would not believe a
word of what he heard. Now whether the flowers were
aware of the listener's presence, and desirous to punish
him for his indiscretion, according to the old proverb,
or whether the subject were a favorite of theirs, it
is certain that the conversation on this occasion turned
chiefly on the unkindness, and injustice, of which men
were guilty with regard to them.

S* Vulgarly termed the Tattling Rose, a play of words that is


"Oh dear cried a cluster of Thyme Blossoms
mournfidly, "the great heavy foot of a man has again
crushed some of our dearest relations."
Yes, they pay no heed to us at all," said a Catch-
Fly that was very fond of notice, and reared itself
up, and stretched itself far out from its slender stem,
"however much we bow down to them and cling to
them: even if they destroyed us because we were
pernicious to them, as the Hemlock is, I would not
complain; but nothing is more difficult to bear than
their contempt, when they do not even think it worth
while to turA away their feet from us, as they pass."
"Still," murmured a Forget-me-Not, deprecatingly,
"I do not think we ought to consider men quite as
unjust towards us, as you make out; I can confute
your accusations. Are we not their favourite orna-
ments on festive occasions, and do they not choose
as as messengers of their holiest feeling-Love?"
"Those days are long past," said the Sorrel, rather
sharply. "Do not men consider themselves justified,
in their inflated pride, when they make bungling

n-L ,.. ,


counterfeits of,Nature's works, copying us in miserable
tawdry paper things, which they consider improve-
ments on the original? and with what do they deck
themselves, then-with us, or with these contemptible
imitations? As to -love messages, they only make
use of us in that way when they can get nothing else
to serve them, for the language of flowers is quite
out of fashion-people call it sentimentality, and turn
it into ridicule."
I could make allowances for all that,"-the Lily
now took up the conversation,-" for how can men
respect our feelings when they do not understand them?
but they have no right to repudiate those which must
be perfectly obvious. Only recollect when night is
over, and we look around us in the light of morning,
we invariably miss one or other of our play-fellows,
which has either bowed its head in the evening twilight,
or had its leaves scattered by the wild winds of night.
Then are we sorrowful, and tears stand in our eyes;
men see this, but without troubling themselves to
understand the cause, they deny that these drops are


sign of feeling, and of sorrow, and my it is only the
dew which has fallen upon us from the early mist,"
This example of human injustice appeared to be
so striking, that for the moment no one had anything
to reply or to bring forward in refutation.
Now, not very far from me a group had formed round
a brilliant, tall, well-grown Poppy. I had remarked
for some time that they had been putting their heads
together, and had taken no part at all in a dispute
which was anything but flattering to mortal ears."
As this pause occurred, however, the Cowslip called
out, ringing her little bell quite loudly,-
Silence! silence sisters, the Poppy has got some-
thing to 'tell us."
"The Poppy! the Poppy has something to tell us,"
was the universal cry. "Hush! hush 1" And everyone
listened, for by this time even the Reed had finished
his long poem.
The Poppy stretched itself on its slender stem, looked
round, and bowed, first on this side and then on that,
several times.


I expected she would have waited to be pmed,
pleaded hoarseness, or at least have made all manner
of excuses; but this apparently is not the fashion among
flowers, for the Poppy started off at once with her
"You are willing to listen? well then I must tell
you how, according to reverend old traditions that
have been propagated from one generation to another
in my family, we Poppies owe our existence to a
very singular accident; for you must not believe that,
at the beginning of the world, flowers were strewed
at once all over the earth; oh dear no one appeared
after another, and everything went on then precisely
as things go on now in spring."
"And how do things go on in spring?" interrupted
the chattering Rose, very eagerly.
"You had better enquire of the little goose-flower"
(Daisy), was the answer, "as it always comes out
then," answered the large Poppy; "and pray do not
disturb me any more in my narrative."
Now the little Daisy in a general way is not much

t wooLAUD eomp.

oomidered, indeed it is reckoned quite simple by many
people, while its cousin the China-aster, on account
of being a trifle more cultivated, ranks far higher;
the small flower, therefore, was at once gratified and
embarrassed at the idea of being allowed to speak,
and a faint blush pervaded its white leaves, as is often
the case with this modest little thing. It raised its
head thankfully towards its noble patroness, and began
without waiting for another question.
What harm we have done Winter, that he should
be so severe on us poor flowers, I cannot tell you,
and indeed opinions are very much divided on the
subject; one thing is sure, he cannot endure us, and
is never quiet till he has driven us all from the earth.
But even his empire does not last for ever; and after
him comes our beet friend the Spring.
The poor Spring I looks round sadly enough, on
finding that of all the bright children which, on her
departure, she so earnestly recommended to Summer,
there is not one remaining, and she is fain to shroud
her hair in grey veils, since there is not one leaf or


flower wherewith to twine herself a garland. Still she
glides onward over the earth, beckoning with her warm
and gentle hand, and calling to her favourites, none
of whom dare stretch out its head on account of the
terror with which the rough Winter has inspired them.
Nor is this terror without foundation, since there have
been instances of Winter, even when far advanced upon
his way, turning back to strike down the heads of the
Several flowers, it is true, with very affectionate dis-
positions cannot bear to keep the Spring waiting, and
come out hastily to meet their gentle friend.
The Violet for instance-but when it looks around
and sees how few of its sisters are awakened, and
how bald the earth still is, then it is frightened, and
draws back its little head timidly amid its green leaves.
Men call that modesty, but it is rather fear, and a
deep desire for companionship is awakened in the
Violet, and sighed forth in delicate perfume.
Poor little Violet I this desire remains unsatisfied, for,
by the time the other flowers have arrived, its course is


10 wooDLnW GMIpe.

already run. Sometimes indeed, in consequence of this
unceasing longing, the Violet comes out again for a
few days in Autumn, and then its yearning is stilled.
"Now you see how everything goes on in Spring,"
aid the Poppy, once more resuming the thread of the
narrative, "and so it was in like manner at the beginning
of the world. One flower came after another. At the
time, however, to which my tradition extends, most of
them were already assembled and the earth was fair to
look upon, for joy and harmony reigned universally-
beasts and men lived peacefully together, and there was
nothing but rejoicing from morning till evening. One
being alone, the only one in the wide wide creation,
did not share the common joy, but wandered sorrowfully
over the young earth. This was Night. You will ask
why she was sorrowful. You see she was alone in the
world, where every other creature had a companion.
And can there be happiness which is unshared? So it
happened that the Night became more and more sensible
(though she would willingly have concealed the truth
from herself) that she was the only creature whom the


others did not approach with affection, for even whe
she lit her own lamp she concealed the greater puo of
the beauties of the earth from men and beasts, and that
turned every one against her. Not that they accused her
to her face, but the exultation with which the morning
sun was saluted proved clearly enough how little,
affection was borne to Night. This naturally grieved
her, for she was kind and affectionate; and she hid her
head in the thickest veil, to weep over her bitter sorrow.
That touched us, compassionate flowers, very much, and
we endeavoured to afford her as much pleasure as lay
in our power. But we had nothing to offer excepting
colours and perfume, and, as to colours, Night had never
taken much delight in them; so we hoarded up for her
our most delicious perfumes; indeed some, the Virginian
Stock for instance, gave no longer any scent by Day, in
order to bestow all its fragrance on the Night. Yet in
all this the mourner found no consolation, and she flung
herself in her grief before the throne of Nature."
All-powerful Mother," she began, "thou seest how
happy everything is in thy world; I alone wander


*" 7

12 woomuAn eoss.

Mfiienl. lonely and unloved, over the earth, and
have no being with whom I can find refuge in my
"Day flies from me, though I follow his steps with
eager yearning, and all creatures turn from me.
"Have pity, oh mother, on my sorrow, and give
me a companion!"
Then Nature smiled compassionately, listened to the
prayer of Night, and gave her Sleep as an associate.
Sleep was a benignant creation; therefore is he an
object of love, impartial blessing, consolation and
Night took her friend in her arms, and now a new
life was opened to her: not only because she was
no longer alone, but because the hearts of all were
devoted to her, for Sleep, the beloved of all living,
accompanied her, when she drove away Day from
the earth.
Ere long new creatures followed in their triin,
friendly and genial; these were the children of Night
and of Sleep, and were called Dreams. These passed


with their parents over the earth, and soon contacted
friendship with men, who in those days had alo
childlike hearts.
But alas! ere long a change was wrought; pasion
awoke in men, ana darker and darker was the soul
within them. Children are soon corrupted in bad.
company, and so it happened that some Dreams
became frivolous, deceitful, and unfriendly, through
their intercourse with men. Sleep observed this change
in his children, and wished to drive the prodigals
from his presence, but their brothers pleaded for them
and said, "Spare them, they are not so bad as they
appear, and we promise thee to do all in our power
to repair the faults which they in their folly have
committed." The father listened to the prayers of
his good children, and the bad Dreams were suffered
to remain, but they were for the most part attracted
in a marvellous manner towards wicked men, and with
men things went on worse and worse.
One glorious night a man lay on a bank of. wee
flowers, and Sleep, with its Dreams, approached him,


but Sin would not suffer them to have any power
over him.
In his soul a fearful thought arose-the thought
of fratricide I
In vain Sleep shook over him soothing drops from
out his magic wand,-in vain the Dreams encompassed
him in a circle of varied images,-again and again
he repelled their gentle influence.
Then Sleep called his children to him. Let us
fly," he said, "this man is not worthy of our gifts;'
and they fled.
When they were far away, Sleep took his magic
wand, half in anger that it had on this occasion so
completely lost its power, and struck it into the earth,
and the Dreams hung on it playfully the light, airy,
ehequered images which they had intended to bestow
upon the man.
When Night aw this she breathed life into the
stem, so that it took root in the earth. It flourished,
and continued to hide within, as formerly, the drops
which Sleep was wont to call forth.


And the gifts of the Dreams took the form of
sof, bright, fluttering leaves.
This is the origin of us, of the race of Poppies."
The story was at an end, and the flowers bowed
gratefully on all sides to the narrator. It was already
light, and the scattered leaves of a Rose fluttered
through the wood, pausing for a moment before each
flower as they passed to whisper a sad farewell: and
tears hung on all the flowers.



"Why did the Fir-Tree creak so, when the Daisy
aid that Winter was unkind and could not endure
flowers?" asked the Lime.
"Because he was vexed," replied the Oak; "when
he is vexed he creaks: have you never heard it till
now ? When the wind comes blustering through the
wood he .calls out to us trees, 'bow down!' but the
Fir-Tree says, stand firm! and then, if the other trees
salute the wind through fear, the Fir-Tree stands
erect and stiff, only turning round in displeasure, and
creaking because he is angry."
"What has that to do with the Winter and the
Daisy?" insisted the Lime.
"You had better ask him yourself," said the Poplar,
in a babbling tone; "you will hear what he says fast
enough, for he often gives sharp answers."


But the Lime was curious, and who could blame her?
Is it likely that any one who lives year after year, on the
self same spot, would involuntarily forego a history of
any kind through fear of a sharp answer? However, the
Lime was wise, and considered how it was best to begin.
Fir-Tree," she said, "how does it happen that you
always wear the same clothes, winter and summer, in
cold and in warm days?"
Because I am not vain, and am not always wanting
something new," answered the Fir-Tree.
"There, you have caught it I swallow that if you
can!" tittered the Poplar.
But the Fir-Tree was wrong; that was not the reason
he could do nothing contrary to his nature: yet men
are often no better, when they pride themselves on some
especial virtue, which after all is only part of their
nature. He who has no fancy for dress, inveighs
against vanity; indeed there are people who sneer at
poetry because they posses no taste for it, and tsch
persons ate still more to blame than the Fir-Tree.
Now the Lime would have taken the answer ill, sed.

wuOoLtA -om.

would bat had nothing more to do with the Fir-Tree,
only she was curious, and that was fortunate, for in
the fit place there is no good in sulking, and in the
next place she would never have heard the history of
the Winter .. or we either!
So she murmured something to herself, and then
she turned once more to her unfriendly neighbour and
said, "I think you might as well tell us something about
the Winter, for you know him, and it is sid you
are attached to him. We others know nothing of
him, for we are asleep when he comes; but you watch,
and talk for a long time about something or other
with hbU."
The Fir-Tree was silent for a time, and all the trees
listened eagerly to know what would come of it all;
but the Willow mid, Lime, you are brave, do not
give in.
At length the Fir-Tree replied, Let me alone; and
if you wish to know anything about the Winter, keep
awake yourelves: those who are anxious to know
anything, had better not sleep away their time."

WOOr.IAD e '

So the conversation would have ended, had not ti
Oak interfered.
Now the oak stands very high in the opinion of
the forest trees, being the oldest and strongest mongt
them. Who knows if the first quality would have
ensured respect, without the assistance of the second?
"Fir-Tree," said the Oak, "you appear a churlis
fellow, but you are not really unkind, you only tarn
your rough side outwards. I know you better, for
I saw you when you were a year old, and had
scarcely put forth one single green shoot. Why are
you so harsh with your companions? Has no -one
soil engendered us? Do not our roots embrace in
the earth, even as our branches in the air? Do
we not dare the same dangers which none of us
singly could withstand? It is not well to A l out
about such tride. Because one puts on green leas;
and you spike., because your bark is rouhet di
that of the Beech, is that a reason you sdd doAi
up, and appear unriendly, which you ae mt? Come
now, oblige your companions, rejoice withh. t i
c 2


the good days, for you must hold by them, when bad
times come."
Now these were earnest words, and the Fir-Tree
took them to heart; many others might do the same!
Fir-Tree bethought himself, and began. "You
wish to hear about the Winter? Well then, now for
it I lay aside your prejudice against him, for I know
you cannot bear him. Do not believe I am partial
because he is a friend, I am only truthful because
I know him. But, to the point. At the creation of
the world, when flowers sprang up on the fields, and
trees in the woods, the beautiful earth was given up
to the Seasons to be shared among them, and flowers and
trees were entrusted to their love and care. Then did
the Seasons rejoice, and they made merry with the
children of Nature. But ere long, discord sprang up
here and there, among them. The fickle, coquettish
Spring would not put up with the thoughtful cir-
cumspect Winter. The glowing Summer found the
Autumn too phlegmatic; the Autumn scolded the
Sprig for denying the flowers. In short, the strife


waxed hotter and hotter, and it was a bad tiam ior
the flowers and trees."
"Then the Autumn said, 'this cannot go on, we
cannot have things in common; come hither, ad
let us share.' And so it came to pass that the
Seasons divided the earth. Winter built his house at
the Poles, Summer wound itself round about the
middle of the world, and Spring and Autumn insinu-
ated themselves in between. You will see later that
this division did not remain exactly the saie; but
there is not much change, and Winter still lives in
his old home."
"How do you know that ?" asked the Lime.
"My cousin told me so, and he went once to se
him there."
Hallo that sounds very like a fib," whiqpied
the Poplar to her neighbour.
But how could your cousin visit him ?"Sakld the
Lime; "is he not obliged to stand still a we a ?"
"It happened thus," answered the Fir-ties "omO,
upon a time there came some clever eterprisig fm

,. ^ -^ 7

WO WaoO s r.

to msk foe wood, tht they might build a ship. My
oousin, a tall slender Fir-Tree, rose proudly among
the other trees of the forest. They no sooner set
eye on him, than he was felled, and made into a
mat. They put to sea, the sailors hung a large
cloth round my cousin, and said to him 'hold it
fai.' But on his head they placed a splendid flut-
taing fag.
"My cousin was very merry on his journey, and
did his duty right well, and when the wind came
and wanted to take away his sheet, he held it fast
and would not bend, and so the ship's company
honoured him above all the other timber of the vessel.
Their course lay due north, and behold, at last they
arrived at Winter's dwelling I The house looked
very simple, iut very strong, and when the ship
knocked, Winter came out, perfectly astonished at
the t~expeted visit.
"Then it struck him that when he had called on
them his welcome had often been far from friendly,
sd so he did not feel much inclined to hospitality,

* :r~ ~~~

wo nAM -. :

and he shook his head until the white SakeW ti- la
all directions. But when he sw my eoin, be-
relaxed, and became friendly in a moment, (fia he
has always been partial to us, Fir-Trees), ad .
they fell to gossiping.
"Then he was very anxious to know how it
fared with everybody he had ever known, amdi wha
the mast had given him a report of everythI*g, h
began to narrate the most wonderful historie, and
what I am about to tell you is one of them. The
was no end of stories, aid the old geatmana was
so happy in his reminiscences, of which he bought
out a store, that he would not let the ship go away,
but laid forcible hands upon it. My cousin oould
never suficiently express how beautiful every thing
was, but the better it fared with him, the wqwe eo
were the ship's crew.
One morning he overheard them takioig. ~T Il
together. 'Our wood is all burned, our powsidw
are coming to an end,' sid the hel-ae, 'Mad it
the ice does not melt soon, we shall die mil= 4

WOuwwNO -ON.

Slt x= eat down the mast and burn it, that will at
let last us for a time.'
"When my cousin heard this, he besought the
Winter to let the ship go free; and the Winter
complied, in order to save his favourite, although he
would not have done so merely to please the sailors.
He allowed the ice to melt, and the ship with her
crew came back safely to her own home."
"That was a good thing," cried all the trees
"But now let me go on with my story," con-
tinued the Fir-Tree.
The earth was accordingly portioned out, and
the Seasons had each its own dominion, and all
would have gone on smoothly if it had not been
for the Spring; whose fickle nature demanded another
change. She would not be content always to remain
in the same place; she called the Seasons together,
and made them the following proposition, 'Let us
make a new divisi ,' she said, 'as the earth is our
:oqnmen possession, why should we always remain

wouoL&ir ee-r. IP -J

in one allotted place? Let each of us hv M
appointed time to possess the whole earth and gowrp
it alone."
"' I have no objection,' said the Summer, so long
as I keep the girdle of the earth for myself'
"' And I my Poles,' said the Winter."
"The thoughtless Spring agreed with everything
in order to attain her object, and the Autumn hoped
to indemnify himself in other ways by the trhe action.
So the treaty was concluded, and the Spring wa
already eager to assume her government, when Winter
(the thoughtful) said, but in order that one of
us should not monopolize all the beautiful things of
the earth, let us share them also."
,"' Very good,' said the Spring, 'I will ta e the
"' The flowers belong to me,' said the Summer,"
"' The fruits are mine.' cried the covetous AutumAi
and Winter was to take possession of the lees. of
.the trees.
Then commenced the reign of Spring, bqap, th

6 woermn om .

whoe kim the bad burt frth on tree and bush,
ad all semed joyous. But when the buds began
to open, when myriad colours gleamed forth on
leaf and lower, then Summer ascended the throne.
Discord sprang up once more, for Autumn, always
thinking of his own interests, proposed and concluded
a singular compact with Summer.
"Summer was to leave him some flowers, in
exchange for which he offered some fruits, and ended
by having the best of the bargain. Winter also was
sadly cheated, for, as you remember, according to
the last division the leaves of the trees were allotted
to his share.
"Now in the glowing Summer time, when love
and harmony abound, when leaf clings fondly to
leaf above, and in the gram below the little glis-
tening coquettish flower display their thousand
colours, a firtation had sprung up between them
and the leaves. As often happens on these occasions,
there was a great deal of teaming in the onset.
When the sun wished to shine down warm and

wooumA eemr. I

glittering on the flower, the leam of the tmr
placed themselves in between; but befbn the owe
were aware, they turned away, so that the sumeam
fell suddenly on the little things below, and nearly
blinded them. Then the flowers closed their eyes,
and the leaves tittered up in their branches; or,
when a refreshing shower came down, the lewsr
would hoard up some of the drops; and whsn the
flowers thought it was all over, they let them fall
down in a shower bath, so that the flowers were
frightened, and shook their heads.
"But what was at first only fun, became in the
end a service of love ; for the sun waxed hotter and
hotter, and the poor tender flower would all have
been withered, had not the leaves interposed like a
shield between them, and the fiery darts of the
"Now that their affection had become .mare
earnest, their little teasing joking ways were le
off, and they began to turn their thoughts to the
means of being united. Up above hung the leavm,

U wtum aot~.

and in the gras glittered the Bowers. But where
there is love it always finds a way. Leaves and
flower moon found a messenger that would carry
their sighs and their vows up and down-and
that was the Ivy. He had sprung up below among
the flowers, and now he wound himself a green
garland up above among the leaves of the trees,
hurrying from leaf to leaf,-the ladder of tender
vows, a silent chain of love.
Who does not detect the Ivy's genial vocation
at the first glance? Who does not overhear the
suppressed sigh of young enthusiastic love breathing
from those ever-green tendrils, as they wave back-
wards. and forwards ? Now the leaves and flowers
were contented with their messenger, the reign of
Autumn was at an end, and he wished to gather
the last flowers from off the plain; and the leaves
changed colour with sorrow, and besought the
Autumn "with earnest prayers, to let them descend
this once only to their dying loved ones. The
Autumn granted their request, although he had no


right to do o, and was encroamhing upon W'tir'
prerogative. Nevertheless, he shook the trees, and
set the leaves free, and down they fluttered to the
earth, and there began a transient but mad life of
joy, flying in a "circling dance around the flowers,
who bowed their heads in languid weariness.
"Autumn took great delight in the excitement,
playing his part wildly, and to the tones of the last
song he shouted forth, the leaves lay down to ever-
lasting sleep. Then Winter advanced, and cold and
drear was his reception by wood and field. There
was no verdure to gladden him, with the exception
of, ourselves (for not a single flower had cared to
dally with us poor Fir-Trees), and the Ivy, which
wound itself from tree to tree, as if it wished to
form a triumphal arch for Winter, and twined itself
round the boughs, desirous of hiding the &ith-r
lessness of the leaves, and of lending the trees some
covering in place of the lost and scattered foliage.
"Winter was touched, and while he angrily lashed.
and chased over ice and snow the few lonely leave

O0 rwoorco comm .

which still hung here and there, against their will
upon the branches, he addressed the Ivy solemnly.
'I will protect you,' he sid, *I will preserve you
for the friendly office that you have chosen; you
shall remain the messenger of love; you shall carry
silent greetings from lower to leaf, from Autumn
to Spring; you shall throw an everlasting bridge
across from one Season to another; your vocation
hall be to embrace, and to unite the evergreen
memory of woods and fields; you shall soften the
severity of Winter.'
"Thus spake the Winter to the Ivy; but on us
Fir-Trees, he bestowed his fullest affection, and
prepared for us honours, which you other trees were
not permitted to share."
"And pry. what were they?" asked the others,
vey ~mnh wounded.
"Winter is the season of good fellowship," con-
tinued the Fir, "and men know this, for at no time
do they ing so closely to each other, as in the
Winter. He brings with him the genial, holy,

WOOeUm Q-. M

mysterious Christmas feast, and in his trnai qpi
that friendly spirit we call Old Fathar Chriuhim
People say that is but another word for the love
of parents, and kindred, and friends; but this s not
true. He is a- spirit, and when he exercise his
magic, men are bewitched. Day and night in the
first days of Winter, the mother sit pensive and
thoughtful; but it is only that Father Chribmuo
is constantly whispering in her ear, and he who goes
out at Christmas time, to make purohnus, alway
brings home more than he intended, and empis
his purse far more than he reckoned on. It is not
the pretty things which charm him, it is Old Fat"e
Christmas, who points out everything, and whisim
to him, and draws at his heartrings, and at his
purse-tringe too, so that he opens his hand again
and again, until he has provided the richest (sbirma
"We Fir-Trees know this, for we m al ways ia
the thick of it all. We are the Chritmas Tees,
and when Christmas revelry is at its height the

32 wOOLA1MD 6oMe,

Old Father Christmas plants us in the midst. We
never want for anything, either in palace or cottage;
be the parents ever so poor, they fix a pair of
candles in our green branches, to please the children,
who scream with joy around us. Gold and silver,
and gleaming fruits, shimmer among our dark leaves,
and children clap their hands before us, and when
everything is beautiful around, the Christmas Tree is
the fairest sight of all, for round about it has Old
Father Christmas cast his own peculiar charm.
Perhaps children love the Christmas Tree so
dearly because it is in itself the type of a rich
childlike "mind. There it stands with its unexplored
treasures, with myriad bright images twining them-
selves round the green branches, mysterious in its
undeveloped wealth. But one brilliant image fades
and fails after another, the gold was glitter, the
hopes fade, the riddle is solved, and with the last
spangle the whole magic is broken, and nothing
remains but a withered Fir-Tree I
In the child's mind one golden dream is dis-

wooD wAM comp. as-

pelled after another, one mystery unnves itself a&t
another, and oh I how different is real life to that
imagined by the mind of the child "
"When the tinsel has all fallen off, is your glory
at an end?" asked the Aspen.
"Then the Tree is placed on the hearth," said
the Fir, "where it often overhears many a pleasant
story which men tell each other, as they look into
the glowing fire. It listens with pleaure, but when
anything happens that it does not like, then it
cracks, so that the sparks fly out, and men press
closer together round the hearth, and when the
golden apples are destroyed, and the trees consumed,
then the children look sadly out of their corners. There
now, that is the history of the Winter, and the
Fir-Tree. Another time, I will tell you a story that
a Christmas Tree heard on the hearth, for men know
very pretty stories sometimes as well as ourselves.
Yes-not now, another time I"


TaH IVmmT.
The Fir-Tree had concluded his narrative, with the
melancholy prospect of its continuation being doubtful:
his last words had died gently away, and a deep calm
descended on the whole wood. One sound alone was
audible in the solemn stillness; it was the splash and
ripple of the Rivulet, beating in broken tones against
the stones and roots of the trees-the everlasting time-
piece of the woods; and as it murmured on, now
glittering brightly in the sunshine, now obscured by
the shadow of the trees, and clouds, agitating the images
reflected on its surface, the monotonous tone formed
itself into distinct words, and unasked, and yet listened
to by all around, the Rivulet began its story. Tree
and flower, listened attentively. A solemn stillness
encompassed the wood; nothing was heard but the
untiring ripple of the Rivulet, amid the universal quiet.

" ** r-;;

woOMAMD eOMP. 38

Now is the woodland silence-who does not know
it? Who has not felt the influence of this sylvan
sabbath ?
All around so calm and solemn, even the beast
breathe more softly, and are tame; even the hunter
forgets his darling passion, and sinks down into the
grass amid the universal repose, while a genial awe
thrills through his whole frame.
That is the time when the wood is silent, and the
Rivulet tells stories to Tree and Flower; and so it went
on to say-" Do you know whence I spring? Do
you know my origin? Every one knows that of the
meadow stream, how it wells up like a fountain ampid
stones, or on a hill side, growing larger and larger,
till the scanty garment of short grass is not sufficient,
and it is fain to run on and hide itself in a stiff vest
of clustering bulrushes, with their large dark boses.
"The mountain stream again, every one knows whence
that comes. The mow lies on the heights, the moun-
tains' everlasting hood, which the sun colour at his
rising and setting, and which the clouds hang with

36 woonDUD aoesP.

wondrous veils as they pas by, while in the ravines
is seen the shimmering ice of the glaciers, stark and
stif and of a deep, dark blue. Above, all seems fixed,
immoveable, but within, there is a stir of joyous life,
a constant spring and flow; the water plays a perpetual
game of hide and seek through the crevices and
chasms, while the kisses of the sun-god fall unceasingly
on the summit of the mountain. This constant love
touches and softens that stony heart, and these little
springs are the children of that affection, which run on
in their game of hide and seek, until their rocky home
becomes too narrow for them, and then they soon find
an outlet. When they emerge into the light they are
dazzle and astonished at the wide, wide world which is
opened before them. Other inquisitive little rills follow
them; and then they venture on farther, first slowly and
tardily, then faster and faster, until they are condensed
into one joyous mountain stream, which springs (even as
the chamois, whose birthplace is not far from its own),
wantonly from crag to crag, now foaming up white
a mountain mow, now glittering smoothly as a polished

WOODLAMDn Op. 87 :

mirror, as it descends into the valley, and luls itself
to rest in the blessed calm of the plain. But whence"
do I, the Rivulet of the woods, spring? You cannot
tell my source: I am neither the child of Snow nor
Ice. Follow "my course. Here, you think, is its
spring, and try to catch me under a stone or mossy
mound; but I am off and away, and further on, laugh
in your face, from behind a gnarled old root. Yes,
now I spread myself out like a broad looking glass,
amid a thousand herbs and flowers; then I sink down
amid an avalanche of stones, which, jealous of the
verdure of the woods, have set green hoods upon their
own grey heads: but then I flow on again, and come
trickling out once more to the surface. You cannot
find my source-that is the wood's own mystery. Now
Once on a time there sate up high in the heavens,
on a light cloud that floated softly over the plain,
a fragile little elf, the favourite tire-woman of the
Fairy Queen, arranging the jewellery of her mistress.
She drew out of a little casket a long, long string of

88 WOODUa eoaP.

pears, a present from the ses. 'Take great care of
them,' Titania had said to her, 'they are the tears
of the sea, that is my favorite set.'
Now, pearls are the unshed tears of the sea, which
lie closely locked in the depths until the fisherman
brings them to light, at the peril of his life. They have
become stiff and hard, but in their subdued lustre they
still bear a resemblance to tearful eyes.
The little elf admired the pearls greatly, and held
the string up very high to see if they would not glitter
more brightly in the sunshine; but the pearl is not
like the precious stone that borrows its light from
without-~the tear of the sea contains its virtue within
itself, and it is the inward brightness that shines
"Behind the little elf sate Puck the Scamp, the teaser
of men and fairies; and while the little creature was
admiring the necklace, he snapped the string in two
unobserved, and down rolled the pearls, first all over
the clouds, and then down, down upon the earth.
The little fairy ate still at first, quite stunned by fear;


then she recovered herself and few down from th
cloud, in pursuit of the falling pearls. And as dh -
went floating about in the vast space between the
clouds and the earth, watching the bright little balls
rolling, and glistening and vanishing away, she thought
to turn back in despair, when suddenly she perceived
a green plain, on whose grass and flowers there shone
myriads of pearls, which she believed to be the lost
treasures. So the little fairy took the casket in her
hand, where the pearl necklace was always kept, and
began to gather them together diligently, and the
casket was soon all but full; and then Titania's favorite
waiting-maid discovered that these were not Pearls, the
tears of the sea, but Dew, the tears of the flowers;
and sad and dispirited, she recommended her search.
Behold, in the dark eyes of a mother who bent over
her dying child, she saw pearls; and a little further on,
in the blue eyes of a loving girl. And by degrees she
found so many weeping eyes, so many tears, that her
casket overflowed. Alas I how many tears are shed on
earth from human eyes, for therein rises too often a


fountain whose source I can reveal to you-it is the heart.
Trouble and sorrow, and repentance, and sometimes joy
also, must be there, or the waters will not flow.
"Now our little elf took all she found for the lost pearls,
clasped the casket closely in her arms, and flew up with
it to the cloud. Alas! the casket grew heavier and
heavier, for tears do not weigh light; and when she
opened it, all the false pearls had melted away. Incon-
solable-she flew from cloud to cloud, to tell them her
griefs, for she was a favorite with all of them ; and they
sent down their rain upon the earth, to try and find the
lost treasure. And the rain fell and poured, and the
trees and plants bowed themselves beneath it, and it
swallowed up the dew, but no pearls were to be found.
"Puck, the rogue, saw that; he saw the grief of the
poor little elf, which he himself had caused, and yet he
was sorry, for his intention was merely to tease, but not
to vex. So down he dived into the centre of the earth,
and begged from his friends-the Kobolds and the
Gnomes, bright glistening ores, sparkling metals, and he
carried, them to the fairy. There is all your plunder


woOLrma GnOm 41

back again,' he mid, 'and prettier, and more vaablue.'
And the little elf rejoiced, and the clouds left off rining..
"But when she looked at his gift nearer, it was all
empty show; and she seized the case in which Puck had
brought them,-and hurled them far away, so that the
glittering particles flew over the horizon, and formed
themselves into a broad arch-a bright and beautiful
rainbow; and ever since that, when the clouds begin to
weep, Puck fetches his coloured toys, and then the
pageant begins afresh.
"The rainbow is very beautiful; we all take delight"
in it, both we and also men; but it is deceptive-a
gift of the Gnomes-an edifice of that rogue Puck's own
Men know this well, for when they pursue it, it runs
on before them, ever unattainable, and on a sudden it
vanishes, and what has become of it? The children say
it falls into the sea, and the nixies make their colored
clothes out of it.
Puck still delights in building up small rainbows;
and when you see, as you often do, on the horizon, a

42 we~osmD onmO.

double arch, mailer and fainter than the other, you may
know it i Puck's work.
Our firy sat upon the cloud so melancholy that she
eould take no pleasure in the rainbow; when all of a
sudden Titania appeared to her. Now it so happened that
on this occasion, her little wayward majesty was in high
good humour; and when her poor maiden told her the
cause of her sorrow in fear and trembling, she smiled
and forgave her on the spot.
Perhaps she was more easily consoled for her loss, as a
sea spirit, whose heart she had lately won, had already
promised her another pearl necklace, for great people are
often very generous even with the tears that are entrusted
to them.
"But what should she do with the heavy contents of
the casket which her little elf still carried?
"'Hasten down to the loneliest, gloomiest spot in my
wood,' said Titania, and pour these drops out among
the sweetest herbs. Let them remain what they ever
have been-tears, but let them flow together in one
united stream.'

woOmUAD ag a4

"The waiting woman obeyed her miner's O=nm d,
and thus flowed the first Rivulet; and thus the wood had.
its tears also.
"Now, do you know my origin ? Do you not me
that my spring, like that of the human tear, is in
the heart? but mine is the hidden heart of the wood-
lands. When sorrow, and trouble and yearning swell
the heart, then the tear flows. In Summer, when so
many children of the woods are cut down and destroyed,
then I flow softly but unceasingly. In Autumn, when
all is departing, I weep over the flowers and leaves'
which the wind strews in my course, where they find
a pitying grave. In the dreary loneliness of Winter
I stiffen, and the tears become pearls after the manner
of the sea-pearl; and I hang on roots and stones, and
glisten with all the sad brightness of tearful eyes. But
in Spring, when a gentle longing stirs all hearts, then
I spring up, eagerly overflowing my bans, to greet
the returning Flowers and fresh green turf on all ides.
I am often aroused by sympathy also; for when the
clouds weep rain, and the flower dew, then is the

44 woontunD GoeoP.

Rivulet swollen. Do you not feel that my spring is
in the heart of the woodlands? The slender Reeds
cluster round, and close beside me grows the tender
blue-eyed Forget-me-not, while the weeping Willow in
its perpetual mourning droops its branches down into
my current. All things appear friendly to me, even the
unchangeable Stone which time passes by unobserved,
the venerable Stone who could tell you more wonderful
things than I can, for his memory extends to days
long past away.
"Puck has become envious of the Rivulet of the
woods, and often in his mischief he throws a gnarled
root or a sharp-pointed stone into the current, and
then I. dash up, and evaporate in transient anger.
"Then, in the sunbeams you see variegated colours
playing over me like those of the rainbow. These are
Puck's toys, which he places close beside my bright
waters, as if he would say, Now then are not my
gifts more beautiful?' But they soon vanish, and I
flow on unchanged. How often are fun and playful
mischief close neighbours to sorrow and affliction, as


if brought together by the wiles of some rogish pirit.
Even the human heart, ready to break in deepest grieF
may be alive to comic influences, and the sad lines
of many a weeping face often relax into a smile.
"How often in the deepest harmony of Nature do
we meet with a jarring discord; amid the rich carpets
of verdant turf, or the full luxuriance of the foliage,
obtrudes a knotted root, or a dry and withered twig.
How often in the midst of flourishing, full-blown roses you
perceive, on a sudden, a pale-faced blossom that looks
out from among its group of blooming sisters like some
sad and sickly countenance I
This is all Puck's doing; but a reflective mind knows
how to reconcile all these discrepancies even as Nature
The Rivulet had concluded; the silence was unbroken,
save by the gentle rustling of leaf and flower.
There was a sudden crackling sound, a dry branch
snapped off, broke, and fell headlong from the top of
an Oak, dispersing the leaves above, and crushing the
flowers below, and then dropped into the Rivulet with

'1MT r

46 WooniMD eomli'.

a slah and a gurgle, and was lot in the dark eddy
of its waters
One second, and all was still.. . Now that
was Puck's doing; that rascal Puck!







MT 8N1ow .

However, the silence did not last long: it wa only
the effect of the first shock. How could it be possible?
Where so many neighbours are crowded together, there
is always something to gossip about. But the Flowers
and Trees had taken great delight in the stories, and
would willingly have listened to more. If the Stone
really has anything worth telling," aid a Foxglove
that had shot up very high indeed, "we will beg him
to be so good as to give us the benefit of it; indeed
I consider it to be a duty on his part to contribute
something to our amusement, since he thrusts himself
in among us, disturbs our society, and remains always
"Foxglove begins meddling and prying us nal,"
aid the Strawberry Blossom.
"Meddling and prying echoed the Foxglove. "I


48 wooDLanD GaP.

am always being reproached with that; what are your
grounds for this accusation ?"
"Why, of course you shoot up so high on purpose
to pry all round, and see everything as far as you
can," said the Strawberry Blossom.
"Nonsense," cried the Foxglove, "I only do that,
in order to see over the Stone."
"Idle excuses!" murmured the Blossom.
"And pray what do you do?" asked Foxglove.
"I bear fruit."
"What are you quarrelling about now?" said the
Beech, from above. "You are each as idle and
inquisitive the one as the other, and very natural you
should be. A thing that is only a year old, is still
in leading strings."
This imprudent word was very nearly the cause of
a terrible war, for the Flowers considered themselves
aggrieved, and unanimously resolved not to submit
tamely to such an insult. Preparations were made for
war, the Sword Lily was appointed commandant of the
standing army, the light companies of the Ironcaps or


Royal Aconites were under marching orders, and the
heavy artillery of the Prickly Pears was put in motion..
The partisans of the Foxglove and Strawberry, the
original instigators of the whole quarrel, determined to
unite against the common enemy. Nettles and Thistles
were enrolled in the Floral Militia, and a royal Pro-
clamation was issued for raising Volunteers.
The Rose was ready first of all, with her thorns well
sharpened;-and here let it be remarked that she had
an especial spite against the Trees, because they did not
vouchsafe to acknowledge her as an equal, although it
must be confessed she often grew up into a most
respectable Tree.
The quarrel lasted for many years, and negotiations
were bahdied backwards and forwards between the
diplomats of the Flowers and Trees, on which occasions
the Umbrella Acacia distinguished himself very much,
espousing the cause of the Rose Tree with tremendous
zeal, on account of the friendly relations that subsisted
between these two high-born families. Unfortunately
the negotiations, according to the custom of Trees and

B -i



Flowers, were all carried on verbally, or we should have
been in posession of despatches perfectly invaluable in a
diplomatic point of view, in which as much was said on
one side as the other, and nothing on either I
Be this as it may, the Flowers which had no private
cause of animosity, (a in the case of the Rose) were not
idle in this honourable warfare, for the Anemone held
long discourses on the rights of Flowers, and the Reed
made long poems.
The Bilberry filled her little canteen, and offered
herself as Vivandire; and a large body of different
Flowers, after forming themselves into a troop of
Volunteers, talked a great deal in a very enthusiastic
manner of their fixed determination of dying for the
good of the Commonwealth; each silently portraying
in his own imagination, a glowing picture of the part
he should individually play, on the occasion of the
great commemoration festival of triumph and victory.
The affair was getting very serious, although many
of the Trees, being members of the Peace Association,
were extremely averse to war; the Fir-Tree in particular,


more especially as he had been so lately boasting of
the friendly relations between the Flowers, and Trees.
To say the truth, the martial ardour of the Flowers
also was already on the wane; they were much more
inclined to listen to the Stone's history than to fight,
and so by unanimous vote it was arranged that the
Whitethorn, and Blackberry should negotiate for peace.
Now the Blackberry was peculiarly zealous, as he
claimed a distant relationship with the Strawberry (the
indirect cause of the dissension); and the Whitethorn
being a link between Tree and Flower, was undoubtedly
the right man in the right place, on this occasion. Still
the reconciliation was not very easy to bring about, for
nothing could induce the Beech-Tree entirely to recall his
insulting words. At length a loop-hole was discovered,
for the Beech declared that although he must still main-
tain that the Trees were older than the Flowers, he was
willing to admit that the Stone was older than the Trees
At the same time he begged to assure them all, that it
was far from his intention to insult the Flower in say-
thing he had said, since he had always enteifaed tbe


highest respect for them; by which speech he flattered
himself he had not compromised his own dignity. The
Foxglove grumbled a little, and the wise Pink observed
in a whisper that "that was not saying much;" but the
Flowers were quite pacified, and an interchange of
assurances of fiiendship and esteem brought the quarrel
to a close.
The Beech's last speech had once more drawn attention
to the Stone, and the wish to induce him to tell his
story was very general, for after all the late turmoil and
excitement, every one longed for some literary relaxation.
But how would it be possible to persuade the unsym-
pathetic Stone ?
The Trees wished to engage the Rivulet as spokesman,
since he had boasted of their great friendship, and had
drawn attention to the Stone's wisdom. The Flowers
thought they would attain their end more easily by
means of the Grass, which was very intimate with the Moss,
and could therefore communicate directly with the Stone.
The peace which had only just been concluded seemed
to stand on very tottering foundations, in consequence of

WOODLANuDoor. 68 8

this difference of opinion, when the Rivulet itwlf
suggested a way out of the difliulty.
"Ask the Fern to negotiate with the Stone, it is
neither Flower nor Tree, but is the Stone's bosom friend,
and is always bending and bowing over him, and
fanning and caressing him; the Stone could not possibly
refuse anything to the Fern.
"Fern," said the Flowers, will you try and persuade
the Stone?"
The Fern bowed in an earnest manner, but remained
apparently silent.
Every one listened; the Rivulet still murmured on,
as if he, too, were using his power of persuasion; but
no one knew the exact state of the case. The Trees
shook themselves once thoroughly, in order that they
might have a better chance of keeping still afterwards,
and all the Flowers raised their little heads out of
the Grase.
In the meantime the Fern had whispered the petition
of the whole wood to the Stone, and wonderful to
relate, from out the broad leaves, penetrating through

54 wooDLA oeam.

the thick covering of Moes, the gruff voice of the
Stone made itself heard in the shape of the following
"The Rivulet spoke the truth, when he said that
I am the oldest inhabitant of the wood, and know
all about times that lie far beyond the reach of your
memories. On the whole, the stories I have heard
you tell contain much that is true, although it will
be necessary to make some occasional corrections. It
is quite true what the Poppy told you, that the Flowers
bloomed one after another, in succession, on the earth;
the Fir-Tree's story of the division of the earth between
the seasons is also true; but before all these events
came to pass, there was a long, long period of time,
a time of struggle and of discord.
"In the beginning of the world the earth was one
large, ponderous rock, hard and barren, solid and
immovable; and as it lay there, cold and arid, behold!
three mighty elements arose for the purpose of investing
it, with warmth and fertility. First came the elder
brother Fire, clothed in a gorgeous mantle of crimson


and gold, dashiug and thundering, as he hld on b
unbridled course, against the Bock; but it was very -
hard and not to be subdued, for, in spite of the Fire's
intense heat, it shewed no signs of melting. A fierce
struggle ensued. Here and there the Fire blasted
portions of the hard Rock, and splintered off large
and small fragments, which he hurled to a distance,
in all the exultation of victory. This was the origin
of us Stones, both small and great; as the Fire flung
us, so do we still lie, scattered over the earth, without
order or arrangement, according to the humour of an
ungovernable element. But victory was not always on
the side of the Fire; and in proportion as he exhausted
his strength and spent his fury, the Rock acquired
fresh power and dexterity to withstand his adversary.
So at length it came to pass that the Fire was com-
pelled to succumb, and the Rock took him prisoner,
and loading him with chains, threw him into an
inner dungeon. There he still lies. That every
Stone contains Fire you are well aware, for when
two are struck together, o en n (wh
two are struck together, or when man (who love


Fire) strikes the Stone with steel, the sparks fly out.
These are all small detached particles of the one
great element. How the Fire works and rages in
the centre of the earth, that I will describe to you
"Now, when Fire was conquered, his younger brother,
Water, advanced in a green robe waved with silver:
he had an easier game to play, for he was wiser and
more experienced, and his brother's fate had read him
a lesson, and made him acquainted with the strength
and power of their common adversary.
Seeing how difficult it was to overcome him in
common warfare, he had recourse to negotiations and
petitions. First he murmured, and then he babbled
softly, and then he splashed and dashed, first with
prayers and persuasions, then with cunning, and lastly
with all his strength. Then the earth suddenly assumed
another aspect, for the Water took possession of all
the places his brother had conquered, and invested
them; more particularly the vast hollow where the
sea now lies. The Rock offered no opposition, and

WOODLA eagOP. 57

the cunning Water rose higher and higher, and then
broke through with fury into what are now valleys,
and there he insinuated his rivers, and although the
Rock had no alternative but to bear this patiently,
(only throwing up banks as some protection) yet the
Water grew more and more encroaching, frequently
overflowing these bulwarks.
"Then came the lovely sister of the elements, the
Air, clothed in her soft blue robe, to mediate, and to
bless, and through her gentle influence peace was
negotiated between the Rock, and the elements.
The obdurate Rock was hard to persuade, however,
and he would not let the Fire free; but the Air gained
permission to visit her captive brother, and so often as
she did this, she brought back some of his warmth,
and imparted it to the earth. Then the soil was
stirred, and buds began to open, and roots to strike
and spread. Still the warmth of the Fire. was not
sufficient without the assistance of Water, who, however
willing to aid in the work, was kept within bounds;
but, through the gentle agency of Air, he was enabled to.


bathe the soil with cool and refreshing drops, thereby
rendering it verdant and fertile. Then Flowers and
Trees began to flourish, and the earth became a fit
habitation for men and beasts. By turns, Air visited
her two brothers, and received gifts from them; one
gave her warmth, the other soft clouds.
"Do you not often see the Air, arrayed by turns
in the glowing hues, or sober-coloured garments given
her by Fire and Water ? Do you not see the Fire reflec-
ted in the evening sky, and glimmer of the early dawn ;
have you not observed the rising mist, when the Air
separates from Water? The floating clouds, also, that
hover fondly over the earth, when borne away by
relentless winds, how often do they look back, weeping
and sorrowful, until overcome by intense yearning, they
fing themselves on the bosom of their beloved earth,
dissolved in gentle teats ?
"Well! I must hasten on with the thread of my
narrative, or I shall weary you.
"You have heard all about the arrangement of the
seasons, ad how the Flowers sprang up and grew; we

* v'-'


Stones see all around us blooming sad vedant, and,
remembering the early times of struggle and oonfusion,-
we rejoice, although we lie neglected and trampled
down, on the very ground which was once our own
possession: so it was very foolish what the Foxglove
said, that we intruded everywhere-since it is you rather
who are the intruders, crowding in among us, and scarcely
allowing us the small space on which we quietly and
modestly lie."
The Foxglove blushed a deeper red, and drooped its
bell-flowers as if abashed. The Strawberry Blossom
tittered under its green trefoil, and the Beech began
to rustle overhead. Then the Rivulet felt uneasy, and
thought the old feud would recommence, and so
hastened to speak.
"We are indeed very grateful to you, venerable
patriarch of the woods, for your narrative; but you owe
us something more."
"What do you wish to know ?" asked the Stone.
"What the Fire was about in the centre of the Rook,
and whether he bore his imprisonment cheerfully?"

60 WOODLanD aoeP.

"Well not exactly," continued the Stone, "for though
his sister's visits caused him some distraction, and he had
the consolation through her intercession of assisting in
the fertilization of the earth, yet he was always dwelling
silently on the hope of freedom; perhaps on the possi-
bility of still conquering the earth. That would indeed
have been a terrible disaster, and would have brought
about the end of all things. So convinced were both
Water and Air of this fact, that they took measures
together, to prevent Fire from gaining an undue ascen-
dancy. Air striving to calm and pacify her hot-tempered
brother, though sometimes it must be confessed she
merely Irritated him the more ; then Water was called
in, and a fierce struggle ensued. Poor Fire was obliged
to have recourse to all sorts of amusements and inventions
to wile away the time in his dark prison.
"One day he melted a Stone, and made some
wonderful brew, and then coloured the composition
with the yellow and crimson from his own robe. That
was gold.
"Then he borrowed some of the bright sparkling


tints which Water sent him through the arevic,
and with that he painted silver. He found'out how to.
appropriate and mix up some of the reddish brown shades
from his gaoler's robe, and that he made into iron.
"As you may fancy, all these toys are not of much
value. Gold and silver are deceitful things, though men
are foolish enough to make a great fuss about them. I
do not believe any well-conditioned Flower or Tree cares
in the least about such trifles, unless it be such wild young
things as the Silver Weed, and the Golden Rod; or such
misers as the old Copper Beech, if my good friend"
overhead will excuse me for speaking so of his uncle.
And iron is very inflexible, and takes great delight in
disturbing and discomposing the earth.
However, to be candid with you, I must own this
agitation does more good than harm.
Now gold, silver, and iron were all made, but Fire
became wearied of always working in the same mono-
tonous colours, so he begged Air to borrow some freh
tints from Earth, and she gathered him nosegays of
Grass and Flowers, to choose from.


"Then was he delighted; and with the beautiful
verdure of the Grass he painted the emerald, and with
the deeper hues of the Bose, the ruby,-while the purple
Larkspur was melted down into the sapphire,-the
Golden Crocus into the topaze,-and the Amaranth and
the Dahlia assisted him in the formation of the amethyst
and the carbuncle. Of course you know how many
little Forget-me-note were melted down for turquoise
purposes, but for the manufacture of the diamond he
took out a patent, and kept it a profound secret. He
found a childish delight in this toy of his own invention,
holding it up in all manner of lights, and playing with
it in all directions.
"You may believe how beautiful and sparkling the
workshop became in time; but Fire was occasionally
impatient oves his labour, and then he would fling away
his paint brush, out of which would drop one of those
bright ores, which are not so valuable as they look, being
in fact more glitter than gold; but you know all about
that from the Rivulet's story of Puck, and the rainbow."
"We none of us have ever observed that Air carried


off any of our relations," observed the Tulip, in a lightly
caustic tone.
Then I cannot say much more for your powers of
observation," rejoined the Stone; at sunset and sunrise,
in particular, you might detect the varied tints of the
Rose, the Crocus, the Violet, and many other Flowers,
intermixed with the verdant hues of the Grass, and the
ruddy gradations of the Poppy. That is, when Air
carries a garland to her captive brother ; you see indeed
only the colours, you cannot distinguish the forms of
your loved ones, they are too far off, but your own hearts'
might have told you they were there. You say, you
none of you know this, yet you invariably turn your
heads in the direction of the sky with fond and
yearning looks.
I do not know why you should belie your better
feelings, unless indeed it be in imitation of men."
"I trust you will not be offended at the question I
am about to put to you," sid the Oak, anxious perhaps
to break rather an awkward silence that ensued; "but i$
is scarcely likely that you, who are so wise and have so

84 woOWuD eooMP.

much knowledge, should be easily offended. You see,
next to you, I am the eldest of the whole wood; indeed
I am sometimes called after you, for on account of my
age and firmness, two qualities which we share in
common, I am often called the stone Oak, for which
reason I have a claim on your confidence. We, here,
upon the earth have an aim, a purpose; we undergo
changes and vicissitudes, we grow and we blossom, and
we bear fruit, each after his kind,-but you Stones lie
there unchanged, always on the self-same spot; is not
that at once melancholy and tedious?"
"As I said before, you are no better than men,"
answered the Stone, half amused, half annoyed. You
consider that you and your own doings are the only
important things in the world, the end and aim of all
creation. You grow and you blossom, and you bear
fruit; and what do you gain by all that ? You die and
are forgotten. Time strokes the place where you once
stood, with his inexorable hand, and every trace of you
has'vanished I Each individual, forms but a single drop
in the ocean of nature. Few of us can tell why our lot

wooDma WVoI. S

is eat in the spot where we lie. I for one do not f
the time hang heavily, although I have lain hbr.
immoveable for so very, very long, for I have a mind
susceptible of external influences, and all around me
changes constantly. Many thousand years have passed
over my head, but no one day has resembled the other.
Every now and then, I lie with my ear against the
ground, and then I get news from distant parts of the
world, for through the rock itself I hold a mysterious
correspondence with other Stones, who tell me of distant
parts of the earth, where it is most beautiful."
"Yes," observed the Fir-Tree, I know there are
wonderfully beautiful countries on the earth ; my cousin
has often told me so, and you know he saw a great.
deal when he was aboard ship."
Oh dear yes," said the Aspen, in a mocking tone;
"places where there is nothing to be seen but Ice and
Snow, where your great friend the Winter never lets
go his grasp of the earth."
"You are not steady enough to keep your attention
fixed on anything that is told you," replied the Fir-Tree,

6 WOONu A fl01GoP.

vry quietly, "or you would have remembered that I
spoke of regions which belong to the Summer, which
the Winter never touches, where the Trees are ever
green, where Flowers always star the carpet of Nature,
where the Water is never stiffened by Ice, and the
Snow rets only lightly and transiently on the earth,
like a kiss from the clouds."
Ah dear I" sighed all the flowers at once, what
would we give to see those countries I "
"I shall do so," cried the Rivulet exultingly;
and in his joy he leaped up, and splashed his
friends playfully. I shall fling myself into the
River, which will carry me down to the Sea, and
then I shall be borne swiftly away to those happy lands."
In the mean time," said the Stone, I will tell you
something about them, as I have received a great deal
of information respecting a wonderful and most lovely
spot on the earth.
In the days when the Water made peace with the
Book, it selected for itself a lovely bay, as a resting
pine, at the feet of its new friend.

weoomu r. S

"Here civilities were interchanged and pIteusl
made, as is usual in cases of sudden friendship. Thisjk
the Sea's own darling haunt; and while the Air plays
round it in glee, it says to the Rock, Bathe thy foot
in my waves, and they shall cool and refresh thee;'
and the Air says,' Lift up thy head and I will crown
it with Flowers, and will throw a fragrant robe over
thee;' and then the Water takes up the word again,
and says, Now that thou art so fair to look upon, I
will bestow a bright mirror upon thee, that thou mayest
rejoice in thine own beauty, and thy image shall adori
my waves;' and so it was. The Shore, clad in many
colours, encircles the Sea with loving arms; and the
Rock, once so cold and stern, looks down smilingly
upon the scene of beauty. And one day it came to
pass that Air, visiting her poor prisoner, bore with her
so fair a description of the spot where she loved to dream
away her sweetest hour, that Fire exclaimed, piteously,
Oh, would that I, too, could behold all this I'
"' Let me try what I can do with the Book,' replied
the rare and subtle element.


Now, the Book was in high good humour, and full
of gratitude for the civilities he had received from Air,
and Water. So he concluded a treaty, and opened a
window in Fire's dungeon, on the rosy summit of a
mountain, where he can climb up and look out when
he pleases; while, on the other hand, Water was to
allow a small Rock to rise up exactly opposite to the
Bay of which I have been speaking, just where the
circle of the Shore opens to let in the Sea,-a cool and
pleasant spot, where he could see a great deal of what
was passing around him; where he could look into the
Bay on one side, and far out over the boundless Sea
on the other.
"I have all this from the small Rock himself, so I
know it to be authentic.
Hi opposite neighbour is the mountain in which
Fire's window is situated. By day, when the earth is
full of light, then you can only see the Smoke which
Fire blows out, like clouds; but at night, when there
is darkness over all, then the gleaming eyes of Fire,
and his flaming head, flash out into the gloom. He looks


very bright and heerful on such occasions, ad is fhll
of mad pranks, as usual; and since his window has boai
opened, the Bay has become still more lovely; for Fie
did not like to see so much beauty without contributing
something himself; so he began by darting out Sparks
far away over the Shore. These fell on green Trees,
where they held fast on the shining branches, but were
not extinguished. Oh no The Sparks became iFsit,
ruddy and glowing as when they first leaped sparkling
and crackling out of the mountain. And so they
continue to this day, (Remember, I have it all fion
the small Rock).
The Sparks still grow there, fiery Oranges, in one
perpetual glow; for as surely as the dark green polished
foliage decks the Tree, so surely does the gorgeous.
Fire-fruit hang year by year, like golden glbes,
suspended from the branches"
And have they no blossoms-these very wonderful
Fruits?" asked the Apple-Tree, somewhat tartly.
Most assuredly, which descend on the Trees like a
lovely fragrant now storm; the same branch be. Frumit


70 woomDL Gm OP.

and Blomom, and the sweet odour of the Flower is
mingled with the Fire of the Fruit.
"The Rocks cluster round the Sea, as it murmurs
magic songs, upon the strand. The Fire looks out
brightly from its prison-house, and the soft perfume of
the Orange Blossom is wafted hither and thither, on
the gentle breeze. Every evening, Air paints the horizon
with the glowing tints of sunset, flinging over the
Rock bright roseate hues, fair as the nuptial garments
of the Sea's own chosen bride. Every night Fire
decorates his mountain with glittering streamers that
flutter down the sides like golden ribbons, starred with
gems, then the flames of the Fire, and the waves of
the Sea, disport themselves together in a joyous dance,
the red glimmer now losing itself, now reappearing
suddenly, broken by the undulations of the waves. My
friend sees all this, and he himself is gaily attired for
the festival, crowned, as his comrades are, with Vine and
Orange garlands, with a waving Palm like a gigantic
feather in his green cap, and a noble bouquet of Aloe
and Prickly Pear. He is very happy, and very thank-

weuwam eor. TI

fil to the three gracious power, ire, Air, ad Wajw
from whom he has obtained so many favou; d,
anxious to prove his gratitude, he has bethought himself
of setting apart a little sanctuary, in a quiet ok,
dedicated to their fraternal meetings.
"On the outer aide of the Rock lies half hid a tiny
door, which may easily escape observation. Behind this
door, stretches away a cool lofty vaulted cave. Hen
may be found Water, Air, and Fire separate, and yet
united. Here may be seen the floating undulating
mirror of the Water, coloured by the deep aure of the
Air, but richer and fuller than the heavens without;
while the Fire gleams and glitters over its surface. The
flames that rise out of the depths, are subdued by the
soft colouring of the Air, which is swayed backwards
and forwards by the playful waves. This is the secret
trysting place of the three elements; here they hold
mysterious converse, yet occasionally they admit men a
witnesses of their conference, and therefore have man
built boats, in order that they may penetrate into this
magic cave. They navigate the blue Air, they bathe in

. '


the lurid Fire, and they breath in the rippling Water.
"It is only when the conference of the elements
becomes very private and confidential that no listeners
are tolerated. Then the Sea closes the entrance with
a door of waves, and the Air sends the Wind to
bolt it fast.
Of course, what passes on these occasions is known
only to the elements themselves and my friend the Rock,
who is far too honourable to divulge what he overhears."
That is very right of him," said the Rose, "I love
him for that. Is he very fond of Flowers ?"
"An everlasting spring encircles him," said the Stone.
"Oh dear I how very lovely it must be," sighed the
poor ose.
"I shall see it all," exclaimed the Rivulet triumphantly.
"Mind you greet the Roses on the mountains for us,"
cried all the Flowers at once; "and the Orange Trees
and the Palms," rustled the Trees.
But how am I to recognize the spot ?" asked the
From my description," was the answer. Men call

it the Bqy of Naples,and my fripd the.lnall Bot it
named Capri, and the Fire's olemrtory-Vesa s; be
is very well known, but you can enquire for he 0 dt6l
So the Rifulet set forth; but he had a long long way
to go, a weary pilgrimage through tracts of unknown
country, a lonely voyage amid the boundless Sea, before
he could hope to reach the spot, whose beauties the Stone
had so eloquently described.
Now the narrator of this story, stood one day at
Sorrento, in the loggia of a small villa, by the sea shore,
where he dwelt alone. The Vine leaves which ran up
the pillars were somewhat thinned, and let in the full
blaze of the sun; but the perfume of the Orange
Blossoms, and the glitter of the Fire fruit among the
dark leaves gladdened his senses. A curl of light blue
smoke rose from Vesuvius, and the Mediterranean rippled
softly to the shore; a wave broke upon the rock with
a sound like a voice from home; it brought the fond
greetings of Flowers and Trees, from the distant father


The Eivulet had fulfilled its trust; for the Flowers
and Fruit of this southern paradise, it brought sweet
mesges,-but alas for the exile, no word from his
absent loved ones.